District 99 Special Olympics basketball team (D99 Hoops) won the state championship on March 17 at Illinois State University in Bloomington, Illinois. This is the fourth state championship in six years for D99 Hoops.
D99 Hoops won two games at the District Tournament in order to qualify for the state tournament. In Bloomington, the team won two games to secure their state championship title against Cove (49-40) and Thorton (57-46).
D99 Hoops includes four teams which are each in different divisions, which includes a mix of five students from North High, South High and District 99’s Transition Center. Only one team qualified for the state tournament and joined nearly 1,600 other Special Olympics athletes from across the state, representing 135 teams.
“We’re incredibly proud of the team and their efforts competing this year, especially since we only had five players at the state tournament so there was no room for error,” said Kevin Ahrens, South High special services teacher and D99 Hoops coach. “We truly appreciate the support from District 99 to our players. Five busses of students attended the state tournament and made it feel like a home game.”
South High organized a D99 Hoops team celebration in honor of their achievement. Peers, teachers, principals and deans at South High came together to congratulate the players and coaches. Click here to view photos of the celebration.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 21,000 young athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. Visit www.soill.org for more information.